THE TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE: UPDATES THROUGH SEPT. 11, 2017

Here’s a link to the newest additions to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Billmoyers.com. The summary titles may pique your interest:

  • Oct. 3, 2013: Trump Praises Putin, Again
  • Feb. 10, 2014: Trump Says Putin Contacted Him in November 2013
  • April 12, 2014: Trump Praises Putin, Again
  • May 27, 2014: Trump Boasts about Relationship with Putin
  • June 20, 2014: Trump Embraces Putin’s Criticism of “American Exceptionalism”
  • March 18, 2015: Trump Launches Exploratory Committee for Presidential Bid
  • June 18, 2015: Trump Boasts about Russian Relationships
  • June 29, 2015: Trump Says He Can Get Along with Russians
  • June 2015 to May 2017: Kremlin-linked Russian Company Buys Ads on Facebook
  • Sept. 27, 2015: Trump Praises Putin, Again
  • Oct. 6, 2015: Trumps Says He’s Met Putin
  • Oct. 13, 2015: Sater Sends Michael Cohen Letter of Intent for Trump Tower Moscow
  • Oct. 17, 2015: “Putin Loves Donald Trump”
  • Nov. 10, 2016: Trump: ‘I Got to Know [Putin] Very Well’ [revision of previous entry]
  • April 26, 2016: Trump Embraces Putin, Again
  • June 3, 2016: Trump Repeats Putin’s PraisJune 6 and 7, 2016: Don Jr.’s Phone Calls with Emin Agalarov
  • June 9, 2016: Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner Meet With Russian Lawyer [revision of previous entry]
  • July 27, 2016: Trump Embraces Putin, Again
  • Sept. 7, 2016: Trump Embraces Putin, Again
  • Dec. 23, 2016: Trump Quotes Putin
  • March 2017: Don Jr. Denies Any Campaign Contacts with Russians
  • Sometime around Aug. 11, 2017: Mueller Wants to Interview White House Staffers
  • Sept. 5, 2017: Congressman Issues More Subpoenas Relating to Steele Dossier
  • Sept. 7, 2017: Don Jr. Talks to Senate Intelligence Committee

TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE: UPDATES THROUGH AUG. 31, 2017

Here are the latest additions to the Trump-Russia Timeline at BillMoyers.com. More updates are in process and you can see a summary of the latest entires in a separate post appearing next to the introduction to the Trump-Russia Timeline.

Oct. 28, 2015: Trump Signs Letter of Intent for Trump Tower in Moscow 

Trump signs a letter of intent for the use of his name on a planned Trump Tower in Moscow. If completed it would be one of the largest residential projects in real estate history and, according to Felix Sater, the ”the world’s tallest building in Moscow.” A Moscow-based developer, I.C. Expert Investment Co., would have paid Trump a licensing fee. After news of the deal breaks in August 2017, Trump Organization Executive Vice President and attorney Michael Cohen tells The Wall Street Journal that he had discussed the proposal with Trump once before Trump signed it and a second time when he did. [Added Aug. 30, 2017]

***

November 2015 – January 2016: Pursuit of Trump Tower in Moscow

A February 2017 article in The New York Times, citing Felix Sater, reports that Trump’s bid for the presidency brings work on a Trump Tower in Moscow to a halt in the Fall of 2015. Emin Agalarov makes a similar statement in a March 2017 interview with Forbes; Agalarov says he and his father had previously signed a letter of intent with their Trump counterparts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. “He ran for president, so we dropped the idea,” Agalarov says. “But if he hadn’t run we would probably be in the construction phase today.”

Later reporting indicates the story might not be so simple.

In July 2017, Yahoo! News’ Michael Isikoff reports that work with the Agalarovs to build a Trump Tower in Moscow came to a halt because of an economic downturn in Russia that was caused, in part, by sanctions the US and others imposed on Russia in 2014, following its intervention in Ukraine.

In an Aug. 1, 2017 article, Talking Points Memo’s Sam Thielman reports that Sater was still working on a deal for Trump Tower in Moscow in “November-December” 2015. In interviews with Thielman, Sater claims that it didn’t involve the Agalarovs, but he doesn’t elaborate.

On Aug. 27, 2017, The Washington Post reports that, in November 2015, Sater urges Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggests that he “could get President Vladimir Putin to say ‘great things’ about Trump.” According to The Post, “Sater also predicted in an email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.” The Post also reports that, “Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen ‘something to the effect of, “Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?”’”

On Aug. 28, 2017, The New York Times picks up the story, quoting from one of Sater’s Nov. 3, 2015 emails to Cohen: “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected… Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Following Sater’s recommendation, in January 2016, Cohen seeks the help of Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s personal spokesperson and the Kremlin’s top press aide. According to subsequent reporting in The Washington Post, Cohen writes, “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower – Moscow project in Moscow City. Without getting into lengthy specifics the communication between our two sides has stalled. As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Peskov receives Cohen’s email, and later says, “But as far as we don’t respond to business topics, this is not our job, we did not send a response.”

According to The Post, “Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said.”

On Aug. 28, 2017, the Trump Organization issues a statement saying, “To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia.”

Cohen likewise issues a statement, saying, “I did not ask or brief Mr. Trump, or any of his family, before I made the decision to terminate further work on the proposal. The Trump Tower Moscow proposal was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.” In an Aug. 28, 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Cohen says he discussed the proposal with Trump only three times: once before Trump signed the Oct. 28, 2015 letter of intent, a second time when Trump signed it, and a third time when work on the deal ended. [Revised Sept. 1, 2017]

***

April 3, 2016: Panama Papers Leaked 

A massive leak of more than 11 million papers from the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm reveals a money trail allegedly showing a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2 billion leading to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and his associates. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top spokesperson, dismisses the accusations as “another series of fibs.” Beyond Russia, the Panama Papers implicate politicians and public leaders throughout the world and, over the subsequent year, lead to audits, investigations, inquiries, and arrests in at least 79 countries. In February 2017, Panama police arrest the founders of the law firm at the center of the scandal and charge them with money laundering. They deny wrongdoing. [Added Aug. 30, 2017]

April 8, 2016: Putin Convenes Russian Federation Security Council

Since Jan. 15, 2016, Putin has been meeting weekly with the Russian Federation Security Council weekly. As the leak of the Panama Papers approached, the council met more frequently — on March 28, 31 and April 5. The Kremlin’s official summary of the April 8 meeting states, “Participants discussed the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the efforts Russia is undertaking these days to facilitate it. Current domestic and international issues were also discussed with a special focus on the creation of the National Guard.”

Russian investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan — experts on how the Kremlin operates in the digital sphere — believe there was actually more going on. In August 2017, they told The Washington Post that “the meeting of the Russian Security Council on April 8, when Putin urgently gathered only the most trusted officials — most of them with secret services background — could be the meeting when a very sensitive matter was discussed, such as the need for a retaliatory response to the Panama Papers exposés.”

Soldatov and Borogan wrote in a 2017 book that Russian interference in the US election may have been a response to the Panama Papers. “Putin believed the Panama Papers attack was sponsored by Hillary Clinton’s people — this, in a way, provided him with a ‘justification’ for a retaliatory operation,” they told The Post. [Added Aug. 30, 2017]

***

Aug. 7, 2017: Trump Complains About Bill to Limit His Power to Fire Mueller

Four days after Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) had co-sponsored legislation that would limit Trump’s ability to fire special counsel Mueller, Trump reportedly calls Tillis to complain about the bill and say that he doesn’t want it to pass. According to Politico, in late July, Trump had also called Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to complain about the then-pending Russian sanctions bill. Corker reportedly told Trump that the legislation would pass both houses of Congress with bipartisan support. “It seems he is just always focused on Russia,” one senior GOP aide tells Politco. [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

***

Aug. 9, 2017: Trump Blasts McConnell Over Russia Investigation

During a phone call that became a profane shouting match, Trump reportedly accuses Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of bungling the health care issue. But according to subsequent reporting by The New York Times citing Republicans briefed on the conversation, Trump is even more upset that McConnell has, in his view, not protected him from investigations of Russia’s election interference. [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

***

Aug. 11, 2017: Russian Lobbyist Testifies Before Mueller’s Grand Jury 

Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian lobbyist who, along with Russians Natalie Veselnitskaya and Ike Kaveladze, attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, testifies for several hours before special counsel Mueller’s grand jury. [Added Sept. 1, 2017]

Aug. 11, 2017: House Democrats Renew Request to Subpoena Deutsche Bank Documents Relating to Trump

Democrats on the House Committee on Financial Services ask Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to issue a subpoena to Deutsche Bank. They request that the subpoena seek documents relating to Russian money-laundering and to Deutsche Bank accounts involving Trump and his family. The Democratic committee members note that Rep. Hensarling never answered their March 10, 2017 letter seeking a “thorough, objective, and bipartisan investigation…into the Russian money laundering scheme at Deutsche Bank….” [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

***

Aug. 22, 2017: Fusion GPS Co-Founder Testifies About “Steele Dossier”

Glenn Simpson, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and co-founder of the consulting firm Fusion GPS, testifies to Senate Judiciary Committee investigators for more than 10 hours.

Working for a client that it has not yet named, Fusion GPS had hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile what became the infamous “Steele dossier” about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Trump has decried the dossier as fake news, and US intelligence officials have testified that it was not the basis for any US intelligence findings of Russian interference with the 2016 election.

It remains unclear which, if any, of the allegations in the dossier US officials have been able to confirm independently. In a statement following Simpson’s session with the committee, Simpson’s lawyer says, “Fusion GPS is proud of the work it has conducted and stands by it.” [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

***

Aug. 25, 2017: Mueller Subpoenas Grand Jury Witnesses in Manafort Probe

NBC News reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed public relations executives who worked with Paul Manafort’s international lobbying effort on behalf Ukraine from 2012 to 2014. According to Manafort’s subsequently amended reports, a pro-Russian political party that ran the country had paid Manafort $17 million for his consulting work during that period. [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

***

Aug. 25, 2017: Mueller Investigating Possible Flynn Connection to Clinton Email Project

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller is examining the role, if any, that Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn may have played in Peter W. Smith’s effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers during the campaign. Smith was a long-time political operative who had told the Journal in May 2017 that during September 2016 he had tried to assemble a team that would pursue those emails. Smith died ten days after the interview. [Added Aug. 28, 2017]

Aug. 29, 2017: CNN reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Paul Manafort’s former lawyer and Manafort’s current spokesperson. [Added Aug. 30, 2017]

Aug. 30, 2017: Mueller Consulting with NY Attorney General on Manafort

Politico reports that, in recent weeks, teams working with special counsel Mueller and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been sharing evidence in connection with their investigations of Paul Manafort and his financial transactions. [Added Sept. 1, 2017]

Aug. 30, 2017: More Reports on Manafort Ties to Russian Oligarch

The Wall Street Journal reports on Manafort’s alleged financial dealings with Oleg Derispaka, a Russian oligarch. According to The Journal, the dealings began in 2004 and the two men had a falling out, cutting ties in 2014, but Manafort’s work for Ukraine continued into 2015. According to a court filing on Deripaska’s behalf in May 2017, he “never had any arrangement, whether contractual or otherwise, with Mr. Manafort to advance the interests of the Russian government.” [Added Sept. 1, 2017]

Aug. 30, 2017: Cohen Rebuts “Steele Dossier”

The New York Times reports that Michael Cohen’s lawyer has provided the House Intelligence Committee with an eight-page, point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations in the ‘Steele dossier’ insofar as they pertain to Cohen. “We have not uncovered a single document that would in any way corroborate the dossier’s allegations regarding Mr. Cohen, nor do we believe that any such document exists,” wrote Cohen’s lawyer. “Mr. Cohen vehemently denies the claims made in the dossier about him, which are false and remain wholly unsubstantiated.” [Added Sept. 1, 2017]

FOLLOW THE MONEY: They Say It Was About Russian Orphans. They’re Lying.

[This post first appeared on Bill Moyers & Company on Aug. 22, 2017.]

Another Trump cover-up collapses. Like its predecessors, it involves Russia. Also like it’s predecessors, Trump is at the center. People lie for a reason. What was Trump’s reason this time?

Perhaps Trump had hoped that the public would never learn about the three Russian participants at the infamous June 9, 2016 meeting with his top campaign advisers. Maybe he thought that branding the episode as an innocuous discussion about a moribund Russian adoption program would glide him past another scandalous event in the Trump-Russia saga. What he probably sought most was to deflect attention away from what actually occurred on June 9: Putin’s self-interested desire for relief from US sanctions converged with Trump’s self-interested prior Russian business dealings to solidify Trump’s position as the Kremlin’s candidate for president of the United States.

Russian Adoptions?

In 2012, Putin stopped the Russian adoption program in retaliation for US sanctions under the Magnitsky Act. The law originated with Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a $230 million scheme involving Russian officials stealing tax money and plowing some of it into private assets in Western countries. Shortly after Magnitsky testified against those officials in 2008, the Russians arrested him, put him in prison, and abused him until he died a year later at age 37. Magnitsky’s client in the tax investigation, American financier William Browder, sought justice. His efforts culminated in the law that, among other sanctions, freezes and seizes assets belonging to Russian human rights abusers—including those responsible for Magnitsky’s death.

Repealing the Magnitsky Act has become one of Putin’s top foreign policy objectives. Two of the three Russians in the June 9, 2016 meeting with top Trump campaign advisers have been central players in Putin’s efforts: attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.

Veselnitskaya’s clients have included state-owned businesses and the successor to the KGB. She was also helping a defendant in the Prevezon case, which alleged money laundering of some of the $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky had uncovered. According to then-US Attorney Preet Bhahara’s 2013 announcement of that civil forfeiture action, the laundering occurred through “pricey Manhattan real estate.”

Rinat Akhmetshin later confirmed to the Associated Press that he had served in a Soviet military unit that was part of counterintelligence (but said he was never formally trained as a spy). He’s now a lobbyist seeking repeal of the Magnitsky Act.

The third Russian in the meeting provided a link to Trump’s prior Russian business interests. Ike Kaveladze is vice president of Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov’s company, Crocus Group. Agalarov and his son, Emin, were instrumental in bringing the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. Trump earned almost $20 million for that event. The Agalarovs had also worked on developing a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Another Botched Cover-Up

On July 7, 2017, The New York Times told Donald Trump Jr. that it was about to run the first story on the June 9 meeting. Weeks earlier, Jared Kushner’s attorneys had discovered Don Jr.’s email chain that set up the session, which included Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The subject line read: “Russia-Clinton-private and confidential.”

The initial message—from the publicist for Emin Agalarov—said that Russia’s top prosecutor was offering “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump…”

Seventeen minutes later, Don Jr. responded: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Long before the Times called, the Trump and Kushner legal teams had been debating the best way to deal with this ticking bomb. Returning from the G-20 summit aboard Air Force One on July 8, Trump and his team knew that the Times story required a decision: transparency or obfuscation? Trump cast the only vote that counted. Transparency lost.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Trump helped draft Don Jr.’s misleading statement that read, in pertinent part:

“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up….”

After Don Jr. issued a second incomplete statement, he finally released his June 2016 email chain. Immediately, his initial statement came under attack as deceptive at best. But in the ultimate irony, Trump praised his son’s transparency:

On July 25, 2017, things became stickier. William Browder released his prepared remarks for the Senate Judiciary Committee. His statement and subsequent appearance on July 27 didn’t receive much coverage because, at 8 a.m. on July 26, Trump tweeted out a transgender military ban that his senior military officers immediately disavowed. In addition to isolating already vulnerable citizens, those tweets sucked all of the oxygen from the day’s news cycle and suffocated Browder’s testimony, which should have made headlines.

Browder connected dots that put the June 9 meeting in a stunning new light. He explained why Putin was so focused on repealing the Magnitsky Act: “Since 2012 it’s emerged that Vladimir Putin was a beneficiary of the stolen $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky exposed.” Browder testified that this worries Putin because “he keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation. Therefore, he has a significant and very personal interest in finding a way to get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions.” According to Browder, the sanctions create another problem for Putin because they “destroy the promise of impunity he’s given to all of his corrupt officials.”

Eroding Defenses

Trump’s latest cover-up ended on July 31, 2017, when The Washington Post’s headline proclaimed: “Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer.” Even press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted that Trump “weighed in” on Don Jr.’s statement before it went out.

The revelation was just another of the presidential lies permeating the Trump-Russia story. For months, Trump and his minions insisted that there had been no contact with Russians during the campaign. They were lying.

Trump’s second defense admitted to such contacts, but asserted there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. A related talking point was that Russia actually wanted Hillary Clinton to win because Putin feared that Trump would be tougher on Russia. Don Jr.’s email chain obliterated those positions.

While trying to explain away Don Jr.’s emails, Trump tried a third defense: anyone would have taken the June 9 meeting. “It’s called opposition research,” Trump said. That defense quickly became counterproductive because accepting help from a foreign adversary is illegal.

Trump and his minions then moved to defenses four and five: The Russians didn’t offer anything helpful, and whatever they did to help Trump hadn’t made a difference. Those “believe me,” “trust me” assertions from a serial liar aren’t working.

We’re now at defense number six: ignore whatever happened. Trump is still a legitimately elected president. But the evaporation of defenses one through five are making that a tough sell.

As the facts seep out, Trump uses every available obstacle—even prevarication from his son’s mouth—to block pathways to the truth. The inference is unavoidable: That truth must be worth hiding.

TRUMP/RUSSIA TIMELINE: UPDATES THROUGH AUG. 21, 2017

We’ve added a new feature to accompany the Interactive Trump-Russia Timeline at Billmoyers.com. It identifies by date and title the most recent additions to the Timeline. For this transitional week, I’ve included here the complete text of each new entry in the Trump-Russia Timeline, some of which also apply to the separate Pence Timeline, Kushner Timeline, and Comey Firing Timeline. For future updates, go directly to the “Newest Additions” link at Billmoyers.com

May 14, 1984: Trump Opens His First Atlantic City Casino 

The Trump Organization opens Harrah’s at Trump Tower—the first of three Trump casinos in Atlantic City, NJ by 1990. [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

NEW: April 3, 1987: Australian Concerns About Alleged “Trump Mafia Connections”

In connection with Trump’s request to build a new casino in Sydney, Australia, the New South Wales Police Board issues its confidential report on whether Trump has the required “sound repute, probity and integrity” for the project. A month later, the May 4, 1987 confidential minutes of the New South Wales Cabinet Casino Subcommittee quote portions of the board’s report, including: “Atlantic City would be a dubious model for Sydney and in our judgement, the Trump Mafia connections should exclude the Kern/Trump consortium.” The minutes also quote this conclusion from the police board: “On tests of sound repute, probity and integrity,” Trump’s consortium “would be dangerous.”

The subcommittee minutes also summarize a conclusion from CIBC Australia Ltd., a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which reviewed the financial aspects of Trump’s proposal: “The projected casino revenue estimates are not soundly based and the quantum of the potential overstatement is so material that [the proposal] is not financially viable.” [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

2002: Trump’s Russian Real Estate Dealings Expand 

Efforts to sell Russians apartments in Trump World Tower, Trump’s West Side condominiums and Trump’s building on Columbus Circle expand with presentations in Moscow involving Sotheby’s International Realty and a Russian realty firm.

In addition to buying units in Trump World Tower, Russians and Russian-Americans flood into another Trump-backed project in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. According to Reuters’ investigation, in South Florida alone, members of the Russian elite eventually invest more than $98 million in seven Trump-branded luxury towers. Owners of another one-third of the more than 2000 units are limited liability companies that can hide a true owner’s identity. [Revised Aug. 21, 2017]

***

March 21, 2016: Trump Lists Page and Papadopoulos as Foreign Policy Advisers 

In a Washington Post interview, Trump identifies Carter Page as one of his foreign policy advisers. Page had helped open the Moscow office of investment banking firm Merrill Lynch and had advised Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in which Page is an investor. He blames 2014 US sanctions relating to Russia’s annexation of Crimea for driving down Gazprom’s stock price. Earlier in March 2016, Iowa tea party activist Sam Clovis had recommended Page to the Trump campaign.

In the same interview, Trump says that George Papadopoulos is also a member of his foreign policy team. “He’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy,” Trump says. [Revised Aug. 21, 2017]

***

March 24, 2016: Papadopoulos Suggests Russia Meeting 

Three days after Trump identifies George Papadopoulos as a member of his foreign policy team, Papadopoulos sends an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.” According to later reporting from The Washington Post, he offers to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity. Some Trump advisers express concern about the legality of meeting with Putin or his representatives. But for the next several months, Papadopoulos sends additional emails about Russia’s desire for such a meeting. [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

June 7, 2016: Trump Promises to Reveal “Things That Have Taken Place With the Clintons” 

After winning the New Jersey primary as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president, Trump includes these lines in his victory speech: “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week [June 13] and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons… Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into her private hedge fund – the Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese – all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favorable treatment in return. It’s a sad day in America when foreign governments with deep pockets have more influence in our own country than our great citizens.” [Revised Aug. 21, 2017]

***

NEW: Jan. 9, 2017: Ukrainian Hacker Goes Dark

On an an encripted, anonymous part of the internet known as the “dark web,” a Ukrainian hacker known as “Profexer” goes completely dark. Three days earlier, the US intelligence agencies’ report on Russian interference with the US election publicly identified a malware program that Profexer wrote as one tool used with Russian hacking in the United States. Sometime thereafter, Profexer turns himself into the Ukrainian police and reportedly begins cooperating with the FBI. [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

Feb. 8, 2017: Comey Tells Priebus Not To Meddle 

According to a later report in The New York Times, FBI Director Comey has a private meeting at the White House with chief of staff Reince Priebus. He tells Priebus about a Justice Department policy that largely bars discussions between White House officials and the FBI with respect to continuing investigations. The purpose of the policy is to prevent political meddling — or at least the appearance of it — in the bureau’s work, according to the law enforcement official source for the Times report. [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

Aug. 1, 2017: White House Admits Trump “Weighed In” On Don Jr.’s Misleading Statement 

Responding to reports about Trump’s role in drafting his son’s statement concerning the June 9, 2016 meeting with the Russians, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, “The statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There’s no inaccuracy in the statement. The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had.” [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

NEW: Aug. 14, 2017: Pence Parses His Words On Russia

While visiting a Christian mission in Cartagena, Colombia, Pence tells reporters, “During all of my experience on the campaign, I never witnessed any evidence of collusion or any of the allegations, I’m not aware of that ever having occurred… I made it very clear I am not aware of any contacts during the time that I was on the campaign between any officials of the Russian government and officials with the campaign, and I stand by that.” [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

As for Pence’s awareness of any contacts between Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian officials prior to the inauguration, Pence adds, “I think I was very clear what I spoke about on television is precisely what Michael Flynn had told me and I believe the president was right to move him out of the White House.” [Added Aug. 21, 2017]

***

NEW: Aug. 15, 2017: Trump Tweets Another Russia Distraction

 

 

[Added Aug. 21, 2017]

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NEW: Aug. 17, 2017: Rohrbacher Echoes Assange: Russia Didn’t Hack Election

A day after meeting with Julian Assange in London, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA)—long known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia—issues a press release stating that Assange told him Russia was not behind the leaks of emails during the 2016 election. [Added Aug. 21, 2017]